I was looking recently for a way to network and also learn something in the process. While reading The New York Times, I came across an ad for One Day University — a kind of fantasy college that offers classes taught by top professors from the best colleges (Yale, Harvard, Brown and Columbia to name a few) on subjects ranging from business to foreign policy.
The "university" has been in cities all over the country including Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York and Hartford, Conn. At the New York event in October there were 17 classes to pick from and students could take up to seven classes in a day.
The classes included: The global economic crisis taught by Yale business school professor Paul Bracken, and a class on Google and Apple taught by Wharton professor Kartik Hosanagar.
For students who wanted take-away skills, there was a class on improving one’s memory and one focused on speed-reading. The memory class helps students to recall names and faces. This definitely comes in handy when I meet sources and need to remember specifics they share with me. The speed reading was designed to double a student's reading speed in just one class.
There were also several networking opportunities. The attendees of One Day University include many connected business players including Richard Parsons, Chairman of Citigroup and former CEO of Time Warner; Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon; and John Reed, former CEO of Citigroup.
I had the chance to meet with a psychology professor of the most popular course at Harvard, Shawn Achor, whom I spoke to about participating in a documentary. I also had the opportunity to network with several other students who were interested in journalism. I might collaborate with them on future projects.
I wasn’t the only one excited to relive college again. This year, close to 15,000 students have already attended.
I took Tamar Gendler’s philosophy class, which focused on what we can learn from ancient philosophers. There I learned from philosopher Epictetus that I should focus on what is in my control and let go of what is not. As a freelance journalist, this means after I sent out pitch letters to editors, I need to focus on knowing I did everything in my power to get the idea approved and instead of worrying, focus on sending article ideas to other editors.
Classes range from $99 to $219 depending on when students register.
The founder of One Day University, Steven Schragis, shared some news that hasn’t been officially announced: One Day University will introduce a day just focused on business classes. I’m very excited about this opportunity; I will have the chance to network with CEOs, vice presidents and even deans of business schools.
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